Saturday, February 18, 2006

City Pages - Bin Laden's Game

Remember Osama?

City Pages - Bin Laden's Game: "CP: Can you talk about the role that the Iraq war has played in his recruiting successes?

Scheuer: I have to tell you, Sir, I'm not an expert on Iraq. I don't know what the threat was from Saddam.My own judgment is, as a nation-state [Saddam's Iraq] was probably containable. But our invasion of Iraq broke the back of our counter-terrorism policy, because it validated in the Islamic mind so much of what bin Laden had said through the past decade. He said, Americans will do anything to defeat a strong Muslim government. We took Saddam out. He said we would take on and defeat any Muslim state that threatened Israel. I think Iraq is an indication of that being true, from their perspective. He said we would occupy their sanctities and try to destroy their religion. From the Islamist's perspective, we occupy all three of their sanctities now—the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and Jerusalem. The Israelis hold Jerusalem, but increasingly in the Islamic world, Americans and Israelis are viewed interchangeably. He said we were going to try to take all the oil from the Muslim world. And certainly the view predominates that one of the reasons we went to Iraq was oil.

And so, in terms of perception, the Iraq war was a validation of what bin Laden had said. In addition, bin Laden and Zawahiri are not trained Islamic clerics or jurists. The argument was always made that they had no authority, therefore, to declare a jihad. Well, when we invaded Iraq, it was kind of a textbook example of an event that necessitates jihad in the Islamic world. Now, any number of well-credentialed clerics and jurists and scholars have authorized jihad against the United States around the world, because we invaded a Muslim land. In my view, the invasion of Iraq accelerated the transformation of al Qaeda from a man and an organization into a philosophy and a movement.

We're at the point where it's still very important to kill—preferably to kill, or else to capture—Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri. But because of Iraq, our problem is far from over if that happens."

Michael Scheuer is an ex cia analyist. He has written a book called "Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This is the Real Outrage

Tariq Ali, the writer of "Clash of Fundamentalisms," makes a some good points

This is the Real Outrage: "But the cartoon depicting Muhammad as a terrorist is a crude racist stereotype. The implication is that every Muslim is a potential terrorist. This is the sort of nonsense that leads to Islamophobia.

Muslims have every right to protest, but the overreaction was unnecessary. In reality, the number of original demonstrators was tiny: 300 in Pakistan, 400 in Indonesia, 200 in Tripoli, a few hundred in Britain (before Saturday's bigger reconciliation march), and government-organised hoodlums in Damascus burning an embassy. Beirut was a bit larger. Why blow this up and pretend that the protests had entered the subsoil of spontaneous mass anger? They certainly haven't anywhere in the Muslim world, though the European media has been busy fertilising the widespread ignorance that exists in this continent.

How many citizens have any real idea of what the Enlightenment really was? French philosophers did take humanity forward by recognising no external authority of any kind, but there was a darker side. Voltaire: 'Blacks are inferior to Europeans, but superior to apes.' Hume: 'The black might develop certain attributes of human beings, the way the parrot manages to speak a few words.' There is much more in a similar vein from their colleagues. It is this aspect of the Enlightenment that appears to be more in tune with some of the generalised anti-Muslim ravings in the media.

What I find interesting is that these demonstrations and embassy-burnings are a response to a tasteless cartoon. Did the Danish imam who travelled round the Muslim world pleading for this show the same anger at Danish troops being sent to Iraq? The occupation of Iraq has costs tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Where is the response to that or the tortures in Abu Ghraib? Or the rapes of Iraqi women by occupying soldiers? Where is the response to the daily deaths of Palestinians? These are the issues that anger me. Last year Afghans protested after a US marine in Guantánamo had urinated on the Qur'an. It was a vile act and there was an official inquiry. The marine in question explained that he had been urinating on a prisoner and a few drops had fallen accidentally on the Qur'an - as if pissing on a prisoner (an old imperial habit) was somehow more acceptable."

Why oh why can't the muslim world launch a world wide protest movement over these issues?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Haaretz - Israel News - Brainwashed by intelligence people

This story probably won't stop the hasbara people from making the claim that Arafat launched the last intifada, but many Israeli officials privately acknowledge this is not true, which means unilateral disengagement and the idea that there is "no partner for peace," is also bunk. Just read the comments by former Shin Bet agent Yuval Diskin.

Haaretz - Israel News - Brainwashed by intelligence people: "Brainwashed by intelligence people
By Akiva Eldar

American and Israeli parents found out in recent days that their governments are sending their sons to kill and be killed in inane wars. Paul Pillar - until recently, the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia - publicly declared that President George Bush had tweaked assessments in order to justify the war in Iraq. On the same day almost, Israel's Channel 10 aired parts of a lecture in which Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin asserted that the riots in the territories were not premeditated, and that 'an Arafat-devised contingency plan did not spark them off.'

These statements undermine claims by political and military officials that the intifada was a stage in a plan by Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat to crush the Oslo Accords on the way to the destruction of Israel. Diskin's statements also cast much doubt on the argument that the Palestine Liberation Organization is not, and never has been, a partner, and that since September 2000, Israel has been waging a just and unavoidable war."

It goes without saying that the government and the ruling party, which has thrived magnificently on the no-partner theory, did not make a big fuss of the bomb dropped by the Shin Bet chief. And even the left-wing opposition waived the elections gift it received from the head of the organization responsible for intelligence assessments in the territories.

Diskin is not the first to challenge the basic premise on which Israel's peace and security policy has rested ever since Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. He was preceded by Major General (res.) Amos Malka, head of Military Intelligence at the time of the start of the intifada. In June 2004, Malka told Haaretz that MI did not have a shred of evidence to indicate that Arafat had initiated the riots.

This means that the late Sharon's Kadima party platform is based on bunk. There are indications of a revolt against Olmert within the ranks of Kadima by another former Shin Bet agent Avi Dichter. As reported by Jpost, Dichter largely concurred with Diskin.

"It was not at all a political statement, it was a professional statement," he told Israel Radio.

"It is totally clear that when Yuval Diskin is invited to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he is essentially being invited to the program 'Meet the Press,'
since all of his comments will be publicized after that, but with alterations as each Knesset member relates them. Therefore, I am convinced that when he spoke in Eli, just like when Ami Ayalon spoke in the past in yeshivas... I'm sure Yuval took into consideration that what he said would be published. I'm sure he was fully aware," Dichter emphasized.

Dichter is also on record opposing further unitateral withdrawals.

n his first interview with an Israeli newspaper since he entered politics, Dichter said he would accept any portfolio offered to him in a prospective Kadima-led government and explained why the road map was the best diplomatic solution for Israel.

Speaking at party headquarters in Petah Tikva, Dichter said the perception among the public that Kadima would withdraw from much of Judea and Samaria regardless of what happens with the Palestinians was incorrect.

Dichter, a supporter of the Gaza Strip disengagement plan, said the West Bank was different from Gaza.

"The Palestinians haven't enforced any of the many plans that we signed with them," he said. "We have time. We are not in a hurry. We're not going to try to end the problem without solving it
. We're not going to withdraw from the West Bank unilaterally just because it was done in Gaza."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

EPA says abused, mentally handicapped, and orphaned children can be used as pesticide lab rats!

News flash: Bush appointees in action again!

Organic Consumers Association - Educating for Health, Justice, and Sustainability: "Despite receiving over 50,000 letters from citizens, Congress, and EPA's own scientists opposing the proposed rule, the EPA has published a new federal regulation that will continue to allow observational studies of chemical and pesticide exposure on human subjects. On August 2, 2005, Congress had mandated the EPA create a rule that permanently bans chemical testing on pregnant women and children, without exception. But the EPA's newly proposed rule, is ridden with exceptions where observational chemical studies may be performed on children in certain situations like the following:

1. Children who 'cannot be reasonably consulted,' such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns, may be studied. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be studied.

2. Parental consent forms are not necessary for studies with children who have been neglected or abused.

3. Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle

Toward the end of the Clinton administration, the EPA briefly stopped accepting industry data from pesticide experiments on humans. But the agency resumed considering that data after Bush took office in January 2001. Then, in a lawsuit brought by the pesticide industry, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in 2003 that the EPA cannot refuse to consider data from manufacturer-sponsored human exposure tests until it develops regulations on them.

Agency officials said last November that in the meantime it would consider each study on a case-by-case basis. But Congress stepped in last year to impose a moratorium after Boxer and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., demanded that the EPA cancel an industry-backed pesticide study in which the families of 60 children in Duval County, Fla., would receive children's clothes, a camcorder and $970 for participating.